Barcelona have finalised three of the contract renewals most anxiously awaited by the club's fans: Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol. According to the club the Argentinean hitman has committed to Barça until 2018, whilst Xavi and Puyol have extended their current deals to 2016.
As this newspaper announced in November, Barcelona had pushed forward their talks with Messi and, in fact, the deal ended up being concluded before the club expected. Sources at the Camp Nou had talked about an announcement after Christmas, but the negotiations were far quicker than had been foreseen.
As had already been revealed the club had also turned its attention to completing the renewals of Xavi and Puyol, two of the pillars of the Catalan club, and who are now practically certain to retire having only played for Barcelona.
In the next few days the players will sign their contracts on an individual basis. Puyol's contract, the first to be completed was due to expire in 2013. The club captain will now be 38 when he completes his new deal.
Xavi's current package finished one year later than Puyol's, in June 2014, and the midfield genius will now conclude his time at Barça when he is 36, two years younger than Puyol will be. Messi's contract was due to expire in 2016; at the new end date of 2018 the Argentinean will be all of 31.